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Alex's 2003 LSB on Black Slicktop

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  • Alex's 2003 LSB on Black Slicktop

    Hello all, my name is Alex and this is my first post here, also I want to apologize for any grammar mistakes, this is not my first language and I learned without any classes back in the days in NYC.
    OK, now back to the car !
    I purchased the car December 2019, from technically the second owner which was the mechanic doing all the work of the first owner.
    Quick intro for the car... it has 85xxx miles at the moment (was 83k) when bought it, San Francisco car and always been there.
    It’s 2003 Laguna Seca Blau, SMG, slicktop and impulse cloth interior.
    What is going to be done and some of the work it’s already done is :
    -SMG to Manual
    -Rod Bearings

    Plans for more work, change the interior to M-texture fabric, possibly CSL seats )))
    CSL rear diffuser.
    CSL front bumper.
    Euro electric folding mirrors.
    This is for now ...
    Thanks to Brett for helping me with all that stuff !

  • #2
    Thanks for posting, Alex!

    I'm doing the list of work he noted and will be posting updates as they happen. So far it has been slow start with lockdown 2020 and bad weather in my mountain area. Here's what has happened so far...

    Some before shots to show what we're dealing with. Some minor previous owner/mechanic stupidity, but that will all get fixed.

    On with the tear down.


    Got started with some quick cleaning before tearing into it deeper.

    Just a scrub and pressure wash. I haven't gone too crazy with cleaning yet.

    Back to the normal tasks associate with the work we're doing.

    Prepping for a the rear main seal.

    Heat shields and under panels getting cleaned and cosmoline stripped.

    These went into the glass bead cabinet.

    New Genuine BMW rear main seal installed.

    Original dual-mass flywheel with new OE bolts, OEM pilot bearing and a new LuK clutch kit installed.

    My local machinist finished a jig to do SMG bell housing conversions. He cuts the holes and makes the spring pin, I do the rest. Alex is the first and this is my first bell housing conversion.

    Bell housing was caked in oil from a leaking oil pan gasket. I forgot to take a pic before I started, but it was worse than this.

    First round of Simple Green cleaning

    and after using gasoline it was suitable enough.

    Inside was thoroughly cleaned to remove all the chips from machining.

    Machinist did a great job with everything. Snap ring grooves for the OE detent spring caps. Later that day I realized that the hole leading edge needed to be chamfered, but that was easy to do myself.

    Bearing pressed on, detent sleeves installed and the spring installed (but I need to tweak the bend to set the neutral preload)

    That's it for now. More updates when the weather clears up.

    MSportParts | Braymond141


    • #3
      Amazing work as always.


      • #4
        Discovering that the SMG conversion guides out there are lacking on some details. OEM self centering spring versus the McMaster one. It has to be turned into a 270deg spring to have the same tension as OEM.

        Trans side getting GPS sensor including the correct parts to use that sensor.

        Shift rod seal

        Bell housing mounted

        New input shaft seal, guide tube, clutch fork, 850csi pivot pin, throwout bearing and shift joint.

        To conclude the transmission side work; GPS pigtail mounting bracket.

        MSportParts | Braymond141


        • #5
          Transmission tunnel work I took a tad too far. Removed all of the SMG block off plate sealant which took quite awhile. Still finding ways I need to improve on this step though.

          SEM EZ Coat spray paint in Olive color. Intended to match factory e-coats. It's close but not perfect.

          Interior side third pedal prep.

          New pedal, and pedal pads.

          This has to be trimmed very carefully.

          SMG throttle pedal to MT conversion by removing the "kick down" detent.

          Transmission mounted

          Clutch master fluid line attached along with firewall grommet.

          On to the SMG wiring delete. I hate when people leave this.

          Scared yet?

          All deleted, ready for Tesa tape in the OE locations.

          MSportParts | Braymond141


          • #6
            Wow, awesome work Brett. You are unbelievably thorough.


            • #7


              • #8
                Finalized the wiring. The previous pics didn't show the gear position switch wiring or the clutch switch and EWS solutions. I couldn't take the directions from the M3F DIY so I pulled out a manual harness I have here and just copied it.

                GPS switch ground wire to X60002 pin 20. Cut to length and new terminal crimped on.

                Other GPS wire is intended to be apart of the removable connector system. On a manual car, this is a solid gray wire. This is already wired on one side, so you just need to extend the wire and add a terminal to it.

                Extension wire added and integrated into the bundled wiring shown in the previous post (didn't have the exact color I really wanted to use).

                Gray/Red being slotted in to the correct plug pin.

                Clutch pedal switch was next. Tapping into the brake switch for two wires...

                Pin 2 on the clutch switch with a fresh terminal and inserted into the appropriate connector that already has the male harness side wired from the factory.

                Clutch switch pin 4 to EWS Pin 8 shortened and terminated.

                Everything all wrapped up.

                ECU box back together for the last time. This time I tucked the remaining body side SMG connector so it looks like a manual box inside.

                And last task of the day was to reassemble the driver side footwell parts after a thorough clean of course.

                MSportParts | Braymond141


                • #9
                  Wrapped up the transmission side.

                  Ravenol MT fill.

                  All new slave, lines and misc.

                  GPS and reverse light wiring tidied up.

                  Bled the clutch and then successfully fired it up.

                  MSportParts | Braymond141


                  • #10
                    More updates. Rob bearings and VANOS.

                    Long oil change intervals with this one, ugh.

                    Crankshaft journals were in perfect condition.

                    Rod bearings were done just in time.

                    All torqued which requires every bolt to be done three times for M10 rods. I note the final NM value on the last degree step. You can see why these TTY bolts need to be done three times, they work harden every time.

                    Back together

                    I decided to a little extra cleaning for Alex. You can go back to the first post to see where this started 🤢

                    MSportParts | Braymond141


                    • #11
                      VANOS was next.

                      Do not skip the upper timing chain guide on S54. It's almost a guarantee it will be broken or about to be. This one snapped who knows how long ago.

                      Fresh Beisan seals and MSP redrilled pump disc.

                      Aluminum is pitted from the San Francisco sea air. 😒

                      Beisan upper timing chain guide installed.

                      Couldn't take the aluminum condition of the VANOS so I tore it all back apart and blasted it.

                      Valve cover looked as bad as the valvetrain before cleaning.

                      Lots more engine bay cleaning to come.

                      MSportParts | Braymond141


                      • #12
                        Blasted the oil filter housing cap. Hopefully future projects we will fix the other aluminum oxidation.

                        Fill and first fire went well.

                        New OE control arms, bushings, ZHP steering rack and new full length tie rods.

                        On to the rear subframe.

                        I really want to correct all this surface rust. We'll see.

                        First round of cleaning with pressure washer and Simple Green. Still dirty.

                        Second round of cleaning with gasoline and then a Simple Green scrub and rinse.

                        And here's one reason to justify cleaning. It exposes issues you would otherwise miss.

                        MSportParts | Braymond141


                        • #13
                          😱❤️ ... no words


                          • #14
                            Slow going on Alex's car lately but we're over the difficult part.

                            Everything stripped for welding the plates on.

                            All cracks terminated and welded then ground down flat.

                            Plates all welded in. All of the faces were ground back smooth.

                            Genuine BMW seam sealer and a wet sponge to texturize the finish.

                            RTAB pockets edges were stripped, welded, seam sealed and paint match blended.

                            Popped spot welds on the edge welded, flattened, and seam sealer shown here still wet.

                            MSportParts | Braymond141


                            • #15
                              Can’t wait for the car 🚗